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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  July 6, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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that's at 6:00. >> the kids wouldn't buy it if they knew, either. "cbs evening news with scott pelley" is next. see you at 6:00. >> caption colorado, llc >> pel ht, walking time bombs, the government warns that th terrorists might implant explosives inside their bodies to blow up planes. nancy cordes investigates. as whitey bulger pleads not guilty to 19 murders. jim axelrod talks to those who know him best. >> he's a fraud. he's a rat. and king rat at that. >> pelley: amazing pictures of a dust bowl scene in phoenix. ben tracy tells us why we're having such violent weather. and the right stuff at the wrong time. mark strassman with the astronauts watching the shuttle program come to an end. >> i'm not going to lie to you, being an astronaut was like the coolest job ever. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley.
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>> pelley: good evening. in the age of suicide bombers, maybe it was only a matter of time. tonight federal authorities are warning airlines that terrorists might have explosives surgically implanted in their bodies. this is apparently just an idea that the terrorists are talking about. federal officials told us today they have not uncovered an actual plot. but the notion creates problems for airport security. and we asked nancy cordes to tell us about the possibilities. >> reporter: the devices the t.s.a. warned of today would be tough even for full body scanners to spot. plastic explosives buried deep inside the body. john pistol heads the t.s.a. >> the u.s. government has received information, intelligence about terrorist intent to use this type of concealment and this type of technique to try to carry out plots to blow up planes.
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>> reporter: a law enforcement source tells cbs news al qaeda operatives in yemen recently expressed interest in recruiting a surgeon to implant the explosives. on this jihadist website, a man claiming to be a surgeon described the appeal last year. "through surgery i could place the bomb device inside the body of the suicide bomber, without the need of suicide vests. isn't this way beth than all the other options?" the tactic has never been used successfully, and cbs national security analyst says terrorist bomb makers are far from perfecting it. >> there are numerous technical problems to try to make an effective explosive device operate inside a human body, especially one that has to incubate for some time and then explode. certainly the body itself will act as a bit of a cushion to the effect of the explosive. >> reporter: that's just what happened in october of 2009,
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when a suicide bomber in saudi arabia made it through two airport security checkpoints with a device strapped between his buttocks. when the bomb detonated he was killed, but his target, a top saudi counter-terrorism official, was barely harmed. still al qaeda's newest approach shows how desperate the organization is to place a bomb on a plane, after two previous plots failed. the first, involved underwear bomber unar farouk abdulmutallab in december of 2009. the second and more sophisticated attempt involved bombs embedded in printer cartridges shipped on cargo planes last fall. the t.s.a. says air travelers, particularly those headed from abroad to the u.s., can expect more random searches and pat- downs in light of these most recent warnings, scot. >> pelley: nancy, you mentioned
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that a body bomb would be difficult for detectors, but how difficult would it be? >> reporter: well, scott, what security experts told us today is that these body scanners would be very hit and miss when it comes to a device planted inside the body. and they point out that when it comes to european airports in effect, airports all across the world, most of them don't have these body scanners, they simply have metal detectors, which would be even less likely to pick up the devices, particularly if they were made of plastic. >> pelley: thanks, nancy. we have breaking news tonight. cbs news has learned that the united states has killed a top al qaeda commander. kashmiri was believed to be a key manner of the hotel massacre in mumbai, and was suspected of plotting attacks against u.s. troops in afghanistan. two sources tell us that he was killed last month in pakistan by a u.s. drone. one official said to us today, "we know we got him this time." at the white house today, the president said he will begin sending condolence letters to families of troops who commit suicide in a war zone.
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troops who die in combat have always received this honor. but for generations, suicide victims have not been acknowledged by the president. the white house has been reviewing this policy, but mr. obama took action one week after elaine quijano first reported this story on our broadcast. elaine? >> reporter: well, scott, the president says he made the change to the condolence letter policy to remove the stigma associated with one of the unseen wounds of war-- suicide. in a written statement, the president said: the group iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, which has been advocating for more mental health programs for veterans, called the president's action long overdue. >> while we think this is a
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positive first step, i think a lot more needs to be done, that the white house really needs to redouble its resolve to addressing this suicide epidemic head on. >> chancey was not trying to seek honor, nor was he being a coward. >> reporter: if anyone can be credited with changing the policy it's greg and janet keesling, they have been fighting for the change since 2009. that's the year their son, 25- year-old army specialist chance keesling, killed himself on his second tour in iraq. they say acknowledgment from the president gives them some comfort. >> he was a good soldier. so i think that's the part that i want to know that the country appreciates, that he fought, he did everything he was asked to do. >> reporter: but there are still military families who will not be receiving condolence letters. the policy change does not include suicide or training accidents here in the united states. >> pelley: thanks, elaine. president obama will be meeting at the white house tomorrow with
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top congressional leaders still trying to break that impasse on raising the national borrowing limit as the d-day for default grows ever closer. here's chief white house correspondent chip reid. >> reporter: taking questions from the twitter social network, president obama lashed out at republicans for refusing to compromise on taxes, as part of a deal on the national debt. >> the debt ceiling should not be something that is used as a gun against the heads of the american people to extract tax breaks for corporate jet owners. >> reporter: but in fact there are signs republicans may be moving toward compromise by closing some tax loopholes. today house republican leader eric cantor told reporters "if the president wants to talk loopholes, we'll be glad to talk loopholes." he added that eliminating corporate tax breaks should be coupled with offsetting tax cuts somewhere else.
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democratic sources familiar with the negotiations say president obama called all four top congressional leaders yesterday, and made the case for doing a debt deal even bigger than the $2 trillion in spending cuts they've been focused on. those sources say the deal the president now favors would be as close as possible to $4 trillion. it would require republicans to raise taxes and cut defense spending, and democrats would have to agree to deep cuts in medicare and medicaid. but the sources say the president believes it would get enough votes to pass, because supporters could argue that it puts the nation on a sound financial footing. senate republican leader mitch mcconnell today said he hasn't given up hope. >> the president said he prefers a big package, we all do. and i hope that there will be some kind of breakthrough tomorrow. >> reporter: scott, the president said today if they don't get a deal in the next couple of weeks, interest rates could soar, the nation's credit could be downgraded, and the economy could spiral into a second recession, or worse. >> pelley: chip, thank you. by far, the most awe inspiring
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pictures we've seen this week came from phoenix, arizona, where a cloud of dust seemed to swallow up the entire city last evening. flights were grounded, drivers couldn't see more than a few feet in front of their cars. folks who live in phoenix are calling it the mother of all dust storms. we've been hit by a lot of violent weather this year, and we asked ben tracy to look into why. >> reporter: this is a legitimate haboob, or dust storm. >> reporter: the giant wall of dust that swept into phoenix was bigger than most, a mile high and packing at least 60 mile per hour winds. >> we thought it was a cloud. then we got into it and it was just black. >> reporter: the dust began to gather near tucson where it hasn't rained in three months. but the time it hit phoenix, it dwarfed the city. larger than anything seen in 100 years. the dust storm is the latest freak weather phenomenon in a string of strange weather events. drought in the southwest has fueled wildfires in three states, but in the western mountains there was so much moisture this winter the snow is
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still there. a lingering snow pack that hasn't been seen for 15 years. that snow and record rains here in california were caused in large part by la nina, cooler water temperatures in the pacific that change weather patterns. that helped end california's three-year drought. but la nina was followed this spring by a stronger than normal jet stream pattern, creating winds that collided with warm water from the gulf of mexico, causing severe storms across the southern u.s. that led to all those tornadoes and record flooding. meteorologist jan null studies weather patterns. >> any time the atmosphere stays in the same place for an extended period of time, then you're usually going to start seeing some unusual weather events. >> reporter: and the weather may seem worse than normal because many of the storms have hit heavily populated areas. chicago, buried in record snowfall, tennessee flooded, large parts of joplin, missouri destroyed. >> those amounts of damage in
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urban areas, not only bumps up the dollar figure but also the fatalities and that makes it something that is note worthy. >> reporter: in fact in an average year, weather related damage would total about $6 billion at this point. in 2011, we've already hit $32 billion. the most expensive since they began tracking it 30 years ago. ben tracy, cbs news, los angeles. >> pelley: we were talking in the newsroom about the weather today and we noticed this from the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. so far this year there have been eight weather disasters in the u.s., blizzards, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, that did at least $1 billion damage each. and hurricane season is just beginning. as the space shuttle program comes to an end, america's astronauts are looking at a whole new world. it's opening day for baseball's roger clemens, on trial for perjury with an all-star roster of potential witnesses. and we'll hear from a man who describes whitey bulger as a
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mentor and a rat, when the cbs evening news continues. makes i, so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life, but with advair, i'm breathing better so now i can take the lead on a science adventure. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator, working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure
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counts of murder, as he was arraigned in federal court in boston. bulger is something of a mystery, so we asked jim axelrod to give us some insight into the mind of a mobster. >> reporter: some guesses about what whitey bulger is thinking now are more educated than others. like michael sullivan's: >> at this point in time he's thinking about how he can make life as easy as possible for himself. >> reporter: the former u.s. attorney of boston, sullivan says bulger may actually believe he's going to beat this too. >> essentially he was a one- person crime wave in the city of boston for decades for decades. he suffered little or no consequences as a result of it so in the back of his mind he's probably believing that at some point in time he'll be able to escape the consequences here as well. >> i'm extremely angry at whitey. >> reporter: john shea is acquainted with bulger's
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thinking. is he going to sing now? >> sing now? the guy's been singing for over 30 years. >> reporter: shea should know, bulger gave him up when shea was running drugs for him in the 1980's. shea did 12 years in prison. he says bulger will say anything to create leverage for himself. >> he's a fraud. he's a rat, and king rat at that. he's a pretty monstrous guy. >> reporter: journalist dick lehr agrees with shea. his book, "black mass," details the deals bulger made with the f.b.i. to save his skin, and says any trial could give bulger more of what he wants, the spotlight. since it's all he's got left. >> with a guy like him, he may say some things that he's just toying with everyone, he may be concocting things. >> reporter: because in the eyes of many he's a sinister manipulator. listen to shea, whom bulger sent to prison, and yet, perhaps surprisingly, confesses to some sadness. >> because i never had a father. at times he was a father figure. and that's the sad part that i feel. >> reporter: but of all the feelings about bulger in boston
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now, sadness may be the least common. jim axelrod, cbs news, new york. >> pelley: other than not guilty, neither bulger nor his lawyers have commented on the charges. there is a new twist tonight in that phone hacking scandal involving a british tabloid newspaper. the news of the world may have hacked into messages left for relatives of victims of the london terror attacks of 2005. yesterday the tabloid admitted hacking into the messages of a murdered 13-year-old girl, to get more details about her case. former pitching ace roger clemens goes on trial for what he said on the hill. capitol hill. that story is next. imagine a day free of worry, a day when we can eat what we want, drink what we want, and sleep soundly through the night. finally that day has arrived with prevacid®24hr. just one pill helps keep you heartburn-free
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>> pelley: jury selection began today in the perjury trial of former baseball great roger clemens. he's accused of lying to congress when he denied using performance enhancing drugs. wyatt andrews tells us that clemens, once a shoe-in for the hall of fame, could face up to 21 months in prison if convicted. >> reporter: he threw with such power, they called him the rocket. he was so competitive he once threw a broken bat at the batter. but in court the fearsome roger clemens is in the contest of his life. he faces six different charges that he lied to congress by denying accusations of using steroids. >> let me be clear. i have never taken steroids or
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h.g.h. >> reporter: h.g.h. meaning, human growth hormone. at that same table was the chief witness against him, brian mcnamee who for years served as clemens' strength coach, told congress he gave clemens at least 12 steroid shots over three seasons. >> i injected those drugs into the body of roger clemens at his direction. >> it never happened. never happened. >> reporter: in an interview with mike wallace of "60 minutes", clemens said those injections were vitamin b-12, not steroids. >> if what he's saying, which is totally false, if he's doing that to me i should have a third ear coming out of my forehead and pulling tractors with my teeth. >> reporter: the clash between clemens and mcnamee won't be the trial's only drama. an all-star roster of former players could be called both for and against clemens. but the most damaging witness could be clemens' close friend and former teammate andy pettitte who said clemens once admitted to him he used h.g.h.
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david epstein, a reporter for sports illustrated, calls pettitte's story believable. >> why would he want to lie? it gives him the credibility of someone who can have those conversations on that level with roger clemens. >> reporter: it will take several more days to select a jury, but the question for that jury is already clear. between the pitcher trying to protect his legacy and the drug supplier telling a story-- which one is lying? wyatt andrews, cbs news, washington. >> pelley: we have more tonight about the discovery of 22 billion in gold and jewels that were hidden in vaults beneath a hindu temple in india. today we learned there is one more vault that may contain even more treasure. but the people in charge of the temple say that there is a picture of a cobra on the door which means the vault may be cursed. with the shuttle program ending, the next thing some astronauts may be exploring is job opportunities. that story is next. tends to stay at rest...
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>> this is michael fincke... >> reporter: he has just lived any astronaut's dream. >> liftoff! >> reporter: riding on the shuttle last month to the space station. >> oh, boy, if you can feel seven million pounds thrust, can you feel it in your bones, the majesty of the launch of the space shuttle. >> reporter: for nasa astronauts that comes with a new reality. from the mercury and apollo glory days, when astronauts became instant american heroes, nasa grew to 149 shuttle astronauts a decade ago. only 61 of them remain. as the shuttle fleet heads for retirement. >> there's a lot of soul searching happening in our office in the astronaut core. it's a little intimidating, i think, especially for a lot of us who only had one dream and now all of a sudden things are changing. >> reporter: like him, this astronaut is sticking around and with good reason. in 2013 he's heading to the space station.
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but when he launches, he'll have to ride with the russians. >> as an astronaut it very disappointing not to have a vehicle that can carry more folks into orbit. i think we're in for a big challenge. the next five years can go either way. >> reporter: what is clear, american astronauts will fly a lot less. at most about three or four americans will squeeze into one of these russian soyuz spacecrafts for the two-day ride to the space station. on the soyuz, americans likely will be passengers. nasa needs fewer astronauts, especially pilots. what is it like to tell somebody you're not going to fly again? >> it's not a pleasant part of the job, no. >> reporter: peggy whitson is chief of nasa's astronaut office. her job description these days involves many hard conversations. >> our focus has changed for what we want specifically in an astronaut. 15 years ago we could have specialists in this and this and this, and now i need a generalist that's good at everything. >> reporter: whitson has not had to layoff anyone. but since last year, ten more astronauts have been transferred to non-flying roles, retired, or moved on.
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>> we're going to need to bump out... >> reporter: garrett reisman is one of them, four months ago he left houston for los angeles and space-x, a private company hoping to build nasa's next vehicle to the space station. >> transitions are always painful, and i'm trying not to use the word bittersweet, but it's not every day that you get to design a spaceship, you know. >> reporter: as an astronaut reisman had two space missions and three space walks. but he now sees better opportunities outside of nasa. >> it was a really tough decision because i'm not going to lie to you, being an astronaut was like the coolest job ever. if you ever had a dream where you put your arms out and fly, it's like that every day, and that never ever got boring. >> reporter: despite all the unknowns, this generation of astronauts still dares to dream of flights. mark strassman, cbs news, houston. >> pelley: that's the "cbs
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evening news." for all of us at cbs news all time, we're hearing from the your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. i was in the water for 16 hours. and i was okay. so given this is the third day, there is still some hope. >> for the first time, we are hearing from the survivors of a boating accident off baja. why one man says 12 bottles of soda saved their lives. it's a war and we haven't won yet. >> the heat is on for medical pot growers and sellers. why they could be targeted even if they are not breaking state law. >> jackpot. there is a guy right there. >> a man walks into a gallery, grabs a picasso and gets away in a cab, no joke. the clue though that could help catch the thief. good evening, i'm dana